Union officials Obama: "Politics as Usual"
by wade norris, Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 08:39:15 AM EST
After the intense attacks from Obama's campaign against the 527 groups who are union sponsored, labor officials are hitting back, decrying that Obama is weakening the position of labor, which is already the subject of right wing and corporate attack.
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign manager has spent the final days of the Iowa campaign railing against "big interests" that have poured a "flood of Washington money" into the state in "underhanded" efforts to support his rivals.
But more than three-quarters of that money has come from a pillar of the Democratic Party: labor unions.
That's right 3/4ths of the "special interest" money is coming from everyday union workers who are trying to fight for a better working wage, healthcare, and the very existence of the middle class.
"I'm taken aback that somebody like Obama would think that Oprah Winfrey has a greater right to participate in the political process than the 4 million people I represent," Edward J. McElroy, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, which has spent $799,619 on New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's behalf, said, referring to the television host's high-profile support for Obama. "It's sour grapes. It sounds just like the charges the Republicans make."
Jennifer Farmer, a spokeswoman for an Ohio Service Employees International Union council -- one of several unions that have given more than $1 million combined to a fund that aids Edwards -- dismissed Obama's complaints as "politics as usual."
Maybe there is more to this with David Plouffe, who circulated the "special interests" email for Obama.
In 2004, for instance, Plouffe managed the campaign of House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt, while Obama's communications director, Robert Gibbs, worked for an independent group funded by Gephardt supporters that aired a notorious ad attacking former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's national security credentials by using the visage of Osama bin Laden.
Maybe, Plouffe, after seeing how little labor and unions helped Gephardt, decided they really did not matter this time around and figured it was fair game to attack them.
Either way, the unions will not forget the Obama campaign attempting to marginalize the last of the old guard of the democratic party: labor.
I will let someone else tell you about Unions: Elizabeth Edwards
The best anti poverty movement we have ever had is the unions.
The truth is that big business does not need an administration that is advocating for them, they've got a plenty of power, in this country - socially, economically - they can dictate the policies they want. We need an administration that is thinking about all the workers, the people who are the backbone of the country. That is who John (Edwards) is thinking about.
(P.S. sorry bout the Rupert Murdoch rant at the beginning)
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John has done an enormous amount both on the campaign and really importantly, I think, before the campaign. This is not something he adopted as a campaign issue. He has walked the picket lines, worked with organizing thousands of workers around the country. He has pressured emoployers who are not treating employees correctly, or are not cooperating with organizing activities
I can tell you here on the ground in Iowa, the SEIU union folks know who has their back, John Edwards, and they remember Obama seeking their endorsement.